September Sunrise – Lensbaby Blog Circle

September and October are my favourite months of the year. One of the reasons for this is the spectacular sunrises. Living on the eastern side of the Malvern Hills I get to watch the sunrise over the mist which clings to the Severn Plain. On some days I can watch it rise up, engulfing everything or receding back to the river. As I got up the other morning and looked out, I knew it was going to be beautiful sunrise. I set my camera up and planned to use the different Lensbaby lenses and optics to play and investigate the different effects. As I was trying to do this in between getting ready for work it didn’t work as planned.

 

Before dawn the horizon was a deep red colour. As I went back and forth between my camera and getting ready the colour lost its intensity and then deepened again as the sun rose. The mist was thick on the ground and it was amazing to watch it move and change. It was like watching the waves on the ocean in very slow motion. As the sun came up the reflection from the top of the mist was fantastic.

 

The early shots were taken with the Circular fisheye and Burnside 35, the other are either the velvet 56 or 85.

 

 

At the weekend I had more time and was lucky enough to witness another great sunrise. The mist wasn’t so dramatic but the colour was special. This time I was playing with the Sweet 80 and the Zone plate/pin hole optic. They create very different effects. 

 

 

I hope you enjoy the photos and don’t forget to follow the circle. Follow the link to Stephanie DeFranco’s blog about Texas gold.

 

Here we go round the mulberry bush – Lensbaby Blog Circle

The Lensbaby Blog Circle is a group of photographers who love Lensbaby lenses. We each publish a post at the start of the month and link to one of the other posts. Follow the links at the end of each post until you come back here, who knows what great photos you’ll see.

 

Here we go round the Mulberry bush is a nursery rhyme and game I learned as a child. We sang the song and mimed the actions. It was just one of many we learned and I didn’t give it much thought. I don’t remember wondering or asking what a mulberry was. The tune and lyrics can be found on Wikipedia. We had raspberries and strawberries in the garden but I had no idea what a mulberry was. Later I remember learning that silkworms eat mulberry leaves and then there is the famous Mulberry brand.

 

Several years ago while walking the dogs on the common we noticed and watched a man behaving strangely under one of the trees. We realised he was picking something and eating it. After he’d moved off we went to take a look and found the tree was covered in deep red and almost black berries. The black ones were incredibly sweet but I preferred the tart deep red ones. Looking them up, later that day we discovered they were mulberries. We’ve picked some every year since. They make great jam and are a great addition to cereal for breakfast.

 

I had a free, nutritious breakfast on the common and ended up with sticky red juice all over my hands.

 

The next post in the circle is by Katrin Bechhold who is writing about the Travelling Burnside project. Follow the links to see lots of great Lensbaby photos.

 

Magical morning

After weeks of hot dry weather we had thunderstorms and lots of rain last night. It was cooler first thing this morning and misty. On the common the light was really changeable as the sun tried to burn through the clouds. Just as it appeared to be winning the light was magical.

 

 

The harebells are out and add a contrast to the golden colour of the dry common.

  • Harebell
  • Harebell

I’m always playing catch up after stopping to take photos. After loosing sight of the others after stopping to take the harebell shots this little guy caught my eye. My Velvet 85 was wide open and I quickly adjusted the focus and fired off some shots before he took off. I then reduced the aperture and got some more. As I often find my initial instincts create better shots. The smaller aperture shots weren’t in focus.

 

 

The last shot is one I wanted to take last weekend but I was playing with my circular fisheye and it didn’t work. Today with the Velvet 85 and the magical light it did.

 

 

Walking to Work – Lensbaby Blog Circle

For me, photography is a hobby. I have a day job which funds my photography. I’m lucky enough to live approx. a mile and a half from the office, so it’s walking distance. I break my work day by going home to let the dogs out and since the spring I have been walking back to work, rather than use the bike. Its amazing how much more I notice when walking and not flying down the hill. On a day I was fed up about something ( I can’t even remember what) I realised not many people have a walk to work like I have, so I thought I’d share some of the sights.

 

It’s a short walk to end of my road and then down a path by the side of All Saints Church onto the main road. There are always flowers in some of the gardens and the path by the  church is beautiful at this time of year. The bench on the church driveway is a new addition. The gas lamps line the main road.  They were gas powered until quite recently buut today the gas has been replaced by more modern safer lighting. CS Lewis spent time in Malvern and it is said the Malvern gas lamps provided inspiration for his Narnia novels.

 

 

I then cross the main road and continue down the hill, along the side of the common. On the day I decided to take my camera I met Prince and his owner who kindly obliged with a photo. The road is flanked on one side by the open common and views of the Malvern Hills and on the other by large Victorian houses with great gardens. After crossing the railway I turn along a wide residential street. On the corner is the old Victorian post-box and a bench under the tree. As I approach work I pass site of the old Reception building, which has now gone and the disused carpark. The poppies appear every year and when I take time to explore its amazing the variety of small plants and weeds which grow there.

 

 

Of course it looks different when the dark clouds are clinging to the hills, but still equally amazing. Maybe in another post when the weather is very different I’ll take you with me again. Deciding which lens to put on my camera was difficult. I was torn between the Burnside 35 and the Velvet 85. In the end I went for the Velvet 85.

 

Follow the links and complete the circle to see lots more great Lensbaby shots.  The next blog in this month’s circle is by Ute Reckhorn “let’s meet in real life”.

 

Playing on the common – Lensbaby Blog Circle

In the first Lensbaby blog circle post I introduced Tyke. He was two months old and very cute. He has grown very quickly and is now as tall as our older springer. He’s yet to fill out but runs around the house, garden and common with the others. I was playing with my Velvet 85 when we were all on the common at the weekend and I thought it was time to get some shots of Tyke in action. What do you think? He’s the one with the white stripe down his face.

 

 

Please follow the circle to see more Lensbaby shots from some great photographers. The next blog is by Ute Reckhorn, at Californialover.com

 

The Beginning

I signed up for the Definitely Dreaming 52 project. The prompt for the first week was “Beginning”. I thought that would be quite easy as the first thing that came to mind was sunrise (the beginning of the day) and I see lots of amazing sunrises. It turned out it wasn’t that simple as the weather was wet and grey, doesn’t really go with the beautiful red sunrises I had in mind. My second thought was a flower bud, but it’s too early in the year for those.

 

I was a bit stumped. I came up with the idea about new year’s resolutions and goals and put together a still life based on this. On Saturday I felt like I was running out of time so put my idea together and got the camera out. I settled on using my Lensbaby Sweet 80 and got to work. Having played with different apertures I settled on the shot below, turned it black and white, added some texture effects and posted it.

 

Beginning
Beginning new challenges

 

Sunday morning was a bright, very cold, sunny morning. I took the dogs out on the Malvern Hills. On the way home I thought I’d check out a spot I’ve seen snowdrops growing before. When we got there I was surprised to see some in bloom. Out came the camera and the Velvet 85 lens. I got several good shots but I wasn’t happy that they showed the structure of the petals so turned them black and white. The best one is shown below.

 

This could have been my 52 projec5 first photo. It’s a subject I’m more comfortable with but it was better for me to extend beyond my comfort zone and try something different. I submitted the Snowdrops shot to the #WexMondays competition.

 

I had fun playing with both shots, I guess that’s what matters.

 

Next week’s subject is “Healthy”

Through a crystal ball

It was a beautiful sunrise on Saturday morning, the sky was a beautiful array of colour. I’ve taken lots of sunset shots from the attic window, looking across the Severn Plain to Bredon Hill and the Cotswolds. It’s always different.

 

Today I got my crystal ball out and tried something different. I set the crustal ball on the windowsill and shot through it, using my Lensbaby velvet 56. I played with the aperture to get the view through the crystal ball in focus while the surrounding area was blurred. The best shot is shown below.

 

Sunrise

 

The shot without the crystal ball is below.

 

 

First Snow

After the beautiful, clear ,crisp, frosty morning yesterday, today was very different. When I got up, there was six inches of snow outside. When it came to taking the dogs out it was still snowing and blowing a freezing, cold gale.

They had fun playing in the snow in the woods. We didn’t make it to top of the hills. The snow got deeper and the wind got colder the higher we went so we cut back down through the woods.

It wasn’t a good day for the camera and I lost count of the times I went to get a photo of something and they charged through destroying the shot. I did manage to get the shots below, with my Lensbaby Velvet 85, which I’m pleased with.

 

 

A Winter walk on the Hills

I had a great walk with dogs today. It was a glorious fresh clear sunny morning. It was bitterly cold, especially on top of the hills with no shelter from the wind. It was a great day for playing with my camera and my new Lensbaby Velvet 85 lens. I love it.

The sun had not long risen and was low in the sky, creating some great effects. I was surprised to find a harebell and gorse still in flower. The best shots from my walk are below.

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